The Vinyl Frontier, 1980-84

Abbott Dining Hall

Concept Sketch, Main Dining Room, Abbott Dining Hall, 1983

        Spurred by Dr. Bruce McClellan’s (1924-2008) 25th Anniversary Dinner scheduled for January 27, 1984, then-Director of the Publications Office James E. Blake L’43 (1924-1999) spearheaded the renovation efforts of Abbott Dining Hall in the fall of 1983.  Due to the project’s short timeline and meager funds, renovations were kept to a minimum and primarily focused on interior design.  Both Thomas L. Moore Design Associates and Cain, Ferrell & Bell were consulted about the eatery’s inner spaces and each produced "elaborate concepts" that were mostly rejected by the School.  The administration and Board of Trustees identified three critical areas within the building that required immediate attention -- window dressings, access points into/out of the kitchen, and wall treatments.  Wall treatments were particularly important because Walter Thaete’s original faux wood paneling was flaking and, depending on how it had originally been affixed, could permanently damage the wall when removed. The School may have purchased textured off-white and black colored vinyl wallpaper to cover the walls' surface.  Construction began during winter break.  A new chair rail was added to the main dining room and painted white along with the building’s existing wooden trim.  Sixteen-foot archways designed by Cain, Ferrell & Bell and made from plywood were installed on the eastern and western walls of the main dining room.  These archways were painted red and framed large School Seals.  New draperies made from white fabric were installed on the windows of the main dining room and the electrical doors (operated by a foot mat) to the kitchen were repaired.  By January, Blake’s renovations were complete and Abbott Dining Hall appeared refreshed for Bruce McClellan’s anniversary celebration.

The Vinyl Frontier